by John Juedes
The Way International (TWI) and its founder Victor Paul Wierwille have long considered themselves to be the sole true source of Biblical research and teaching in the area of teaching people to receive the holy spirit (which TWI does not capitalize, because TWI considers holy spirit to be an impersonal power or ability).
The key book which describes its teaching is Wierwille's Receiving the Holy Spirit Today (RTHST). Wierwille claimed to have hauled all 3,000 of his theological books to the city dump (see Power for Abundant Living, pp. 119-120) and studied the Bible by itself, without referring to men's writings. In the preface to RTHST, Wierwille claims:
"I prayed that I might put aside all I had heard and thought out myself, and I started anew with The Bible as my handbook as well as my textbook" (RTHST, p.x).
However, in the very book in which he said he "put aside" all he "had heard," he draws thought after thought, indeed, word after word, from two books: E. W. Bullinger's The Giver and His Gifts, and J. E. Stiles' The Gift of the Holy Spirit.
In other writings, we have printed side-by-side columns proving that Wierwille copied long sections of Stiles' and Bullinger's books (see The Integrity and Accuracy of The Way' Word, pp. 43-48 and "Wierwille Borrows-- Challenge to the Originality of Receiving the Holy Spirit Today;" also, Will the Real Author Please Stand Up proves that Wierwille plagiarized other books, too).
Here we will show that nearly every section of RTHST was stolen from Stiles and Bullinger. RTHST is heavily based on the content, wording, structure, terms and general conclusions of these authors. In fact, Wierwille included every section of Bullinger's book into RTHST in some form, and most every chapter of Stiles is represented as well. If Wierwille had never plagiarized Bullinger and Stiles, his "book" RTHST would be hardly the length of a magazine article.
Wierwille never once credited these authors for their work. In fact, he never once mentions their names in RTHST, and never admitted in any other article or book that he used Stiles and Bullinger to compile RTHST. It is clear why he omitted their names-- if he did cite them, it would show that Wierwille's claim to have studied the Bible alone was completely false and fraudulent.
This chart shows the major sections of RTHST and the portions of Stiles and Bullinger's books
Wierwille stole them from:
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY
|CONTENT OF THE SECTION||E.W. BULLINGER, THE GIVER AND HIS GIFTS OR J.E. STILES, THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT|
|Dedication||Dedicated to those who have longed, hoped, hungered||Stiles, Dedication|
|Introduction, pp. 1-11||Shortcomings of NT editions in reference to pneuma||Bullinger, Introduction, pp. 1-10|
|Chap. II - Common Fears that Prevent the Receiving of the Gift from the Holy Spirit||fears people have which hinder them from receiving the Holy Spirit||Stiles, Chap. VII - Fears that Hinder|
|Chap. III - Who is Qualified to Receive the Holy Spirit, Pneuma Hagion?||people do not have to be good enough, nor wait in prayer to receive the Holy Spirit, they need only believe||Stiles goes into great detail on this topic in several chapters|
|Chap. IV - What is Speaking in Tongues?||What speaking in tongues is, what it is not, and how to do it||Stiles, Chap. V - Why Speak with Tongues?|
|Chap. V - How to Receive the Holy Spirit, Pneuma Hagion||specific instruction on how to receive the Holy Spirit, including breathing in and using your lips to form the words to speak in tongues||Stiles, Chap. XII - How to Receive the Holy Spirit|
|Chap. XIV - Some Questions Answered||numbered questions about receiving the Spirit, with brief answers||Stiles, Chap. XIII - Questions and Answers|
|Appendix II - The Use and Usage of the Words Pneuma and Pneuma Hagion||Ways in which the Greek word pneuma is employed||Bullinger, The use of Pneuma, pp. 11-13|
|Appendix II - The Use and Usage of the Words Pneuma and Pneuma Hagion||The meanings given to the word pneuma in the NT (material from pp. 26f is condensed into Wierwille's Introduction as well)||Bullinger, The usage of Pneuma, pp. 14-42|
|Appendix III - Every use and usage of the words Pneuma and Pneuma Hagion in the New Testament, (Matt. - Rev.) pp. 285-358||Quotation of every NT verse in which the word pneuma is used, with brief commentary||References in which [Greek] (Pneuma) Occurs: Matt.-Rev. pp. 43-208|
|Appendix III - Every use and usage of the words Pneuma and Pneuma Hagion in the New Testament, (Matt. - Rev.) pp. 285-358||The author assigns each occurrence of pneuma a meaning which he believes God intended the word to carry (the two lists in Bullinger's appendix contain essentially the same material, although arranged differently)||Appendix
1. Classified list of usages of Pneuma, pp. 209-212
2. Classified list of the 385 occurances of Pneuma, pp. 212-217
|Every section of Bullinger's book was incorporated into RTHST in some form|
Was Wierwille just an ignorant and naive student, who unknowingly used other men's writings and would have credited them if he'd thought of it? One very revealing portion of RTHST is the preface. In the second edition, Wierwille states that he once was a searcher who learned something from an unnamed source:
"The Word of God is truth. I prayed that I might put aside all I had been taught and start anew with the Bible as my handbook as well as my textbook. It took me seven years to find a man of God schooled in the Holy Spirit, a man who knew the Scripture on the Holy Spirit, and could fit it together so that I did not have to omit, deny or change any one passage. He made the Scripture fit like a hand fits into a glove, and when you can do that, you can be assured of having truth." (RTHST, 2 ed, p. 8)
While Wierwille admits he learned from someone, he still is intentionally deceptive. First, he never mentions the man's name (though it is clear now that he meant Stiles). Furthermore, Wierwille never says that he took most of the material from Stiles (copying sections almost word for word) and wrote very little of RTHST himself. He clearly leads the reader to believe that he wrote RTHST on his own, even though he clearly plagiarized much of it.
However, in following editions of RTHST, Wierwille deletes his statement that he learned from another man, and states an arrogant lie-- that he did entirely original research, and that none of his teaching came from other men. Note how Wierwille rewrote the same paragraph from the preface to RTHST for the third (and later) edition:
"The Word of God is truth. I prayed that I might put aside all I had heard and thought out myself, and I started anew with The Bible as my handbook as well as my textbook. I did not want to omit, deny or change any passage for, the Word of God being the Will of God, the Scripture must fit like a hand in a glove." (RTHST, 6 ed, p.x).
The fly leaf of RTHST includes a brief biography of V. P. Wierwille which lists the names of several Bible teachers such as E. Stanley Jones, K. C. Pillai and George Lamsa. While some editions of RTHST say that Wierwille quested "with" them for truth (which infers Wierwille was their peer), others say they aided Wierwille. But none of the editions ever mention Stiles or Bullinger, even though they had far more influence on the content of RTHST than the other men listed. The most likely reason that Bullinger and Stiles were omitted from the fly leaves is that Wierwille wanted to avoid providing his readers any leads to finding that Wierwille had indeed plagiarized huge amounts of Stiles' and Bullinger's books.
This is the point at which V.P. Wierwille apparently turns from a fairly well-meaning searcher who at least partially credits someone he learned from, into a self-promoting liar. Now he promotes himself as the unique, accurate Bible teacher and innovator and excludes any mention of other sources. He not only leads the reader to believe something false (that he's original), but blatantly claims it himself.
The different versions of Wierwille's story of how he heard God speak to him also suggest that he may have fabricated details about his experience in order to inflate his image.
One of the first times the story is published is in the 25th anniversary booklet. In this version, he doesn't claim that audibly spoke to him:
"Father clearly spoke to me one night while I was praying, and He made this promise as He spoke to me: He would teach me the Word as it had not been known since the first century, provided that I would teach what He taught me to others." (Page 9)
While Wierwille still makes the audacious claim that he is the only man in 1,850 years to teach the pure Word of God, he didn't claim outright that God's voice was audible.
However, a few years later Elena Whiteside wrote a book which virtually idolized Wierwille and TWI. In this version, Wierwille insists it was an audible voice:
"I was praying.... And that's when He spoke to me audibly, just like I'm talking to you now. He said he would teach me the Word as it had not been known since the first century if I would teach it to others" (Whiteside, The Way-- Living in Love, p. 178).
Mrs. Wierwille quotes a version of the audible-voice story in her book Born Again to Serve and adds, "Rev. Wierwille never told anyone of this experience until much later when he was teaching The Way Corps. It was a most astounding phenomenon which he kept to himself" (page 43).It may be that Wierwille found that such stories could easily impress the more impressionable young Corps with such stories of his exploits. Whiteside's book is written in that period and includes other examples of Wierwille exaggerating (even lying about) his background, which greatly impresses Whiteside (see examples in From Vesper Chimes to The Way InternationalBy Juedes & Morton).
Plagiarism is serious fraud. It has caused doctoral candidates to be removed from graduate school, journalists to be fired, and public figures to be shamed.
A person better understands the severity of plagiarism when he realizes that plagiarism is both lying and stealing. Ephesians specifically instructs us, "you must put off falsehood" (4:25) and "he who has been stealing must steal no longer" (4:28), while Jesus states that the Adversary is the father of lies. Wierwille stole others' words when he placed them in his books and then lied by placing his own name on the books, asserting that all words in them were his alone. By selling his publications, Wierwille also made money from other men's work. He therefore obtained a degree of prestige and money at others' expense. Many lawsuits initiated by the entertainment industry and business have established that theft of other peoples' words, ideas and work are criminal offenses. Surely Wierwille's extensive plagiarism indicates that he has stolen words and ideas and lied about their source, and even claimed that all his work was orignal. All this demonstrates a lack of integrity.
Dr. John P. Juedes, 1998, Highland, CA www.empirenet.com/~messiah7
Related reading: From Vesper Chimes to The Way International & The Integrity and Accuracy of
The Way' Word by Juedes & Morton and "Wierwille Borrows-- Challenge to the Originality of
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today;" by Juedes and Will the Real Author Please Stand Up by Jay
Valusek & Juedes.
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Return to "Founder V. P. Wierwille" Menu